In a move that could benefit Indian IT professionals, US President Donald Trump has unveiled a new merit-based immigration plan under which high-skilled workers would be eligible for a "Build America" visa. The existing green card policy, which Trump plans to scrap, benefits mostly low-waged and low-skilled workers but the new system will increase the the proportion of highly-skilled immigrants to 57% from 12%.
Trump’s plan, once adopted by Congress, aims to establish a standard, universal, points-based criteria for immigration to the United States without being biased towards an applicant's place of birth or family ties.
New US immigration plan in 10 points:
1) The White House said the new immigration rule will protect American wages, promote American values, and attract the best and brightest talent from across the globe.
2) Trump said spouses and children of new immigrants will get preferential treatment over distant relatives who use family claims as a tool to get ahead in the queue.
3) The existing immigration system accords preference to family ties. Under America’s new system, the well-educated who are capable of taking up relatively sophisticated jobs—Indian technology professionals, for example—will have it easier.
4) The new immigration rules, once it comes into force, could end the agonising Green Card wait for thousands of Indian professionals. The average waiting period for them is more than a decade.
5) Currently, only 12% of legal immigrants are selected based on merit but now Trump wants to increase the proportion of highly skilled immigrants to 57%.
6) Trump wants America’s new immigration system to bring in people who will expand opportunity for striving, low-income Americans instead of competing with low-income Americans.
7) The new immigration plan makes no change to the number of green cards allocated each year. "But instead of admitting people through random chance, we will establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States. No matter where in the world you’re born, no matter who your relatives are, if you want to become an American citizen, it will be clear exactly what standard we ask you to achieve. It will be made crystal clear," Trump said.
8) Under the proposed reforms, immigrants will also be "required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission," Trump said.
9) Trump's plan, that comes before his 2020 re-election campaign, is however unlikely to get a vote in Congress, AP reported.
10) The United States admits 1.1 million immigrants as permanent legal residents. These green card holders get lifetime authorization to live and work in the US and a five-year path to American citizenship.